Summary: Doing God's Will


After Doris’ recurrence of cancer She had a request from me, to take her out for a trip every week. It entails thinking of a place to go weekly, which was a challenge I did not relish. Along with the regular Hong Kong attractions like Repulse Bay, Tai O, Sai Kung, Stanley and Peak, we also went to Peng Chau, rode on the waterfront Ferris Wheel and visited the Hong Kong Science Museum and even bought a year’s membership to the museums.

Do you realize how hard it is to stay connected even when you live in the same house and even with all the gadgets in the world. Do your family members see each other and talk to one another evey day? Do you know what they’re doing, what’s on their mind and how they feel? My mother is in Singapore, my brother in Kuala Lumpur and my sister in Los Angeles. Every day for the ten days in Israel and Egypt tourists like me look for free wifi in the airport, our hotels, and tourist bus, to stay connected. Facebook, whatsApp and e-mail is no substitue for human touch, personal gathering and face-to-face encounters. In today’s passage Jesus was in Capernaum, and his family members in Nazareth.

What do you do if you want to show people you care for them, treasure them or think of them or miss them? In the same way, how do you show the Lord you love, trust and honor Him? Why must we stay close and current instead of cold and choking in our relationship with the Lord?

Spend the Time

19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. (Luke 8:19)

A new study done by the University of Hong Kong says that eating with one’s family increases one’s happiness quotient, and in contrast to the bleak picture often painted of the city’s future, Hongkongers are generally happy. The survey found those who ate and communicated more with their family, even if not face to face, reported higher levels of happiness. It asked 4,038 residents if they were happy and recorded an average score of 5.15 out of a maximum of 7. When asked if they felt their family were happy, the average score was 7.53 out of 10.

Professor Lam Tai-hing, chair professor of community medicine at the school, urged Hongkongers to eat and talk more with family, be it face to face or using technology. He pointed out that the poll found those who spent between 61 and 90 minutes communicating with family every day had the highest happiness scores compared with those who spent 60 minutes or less or more than 90 minutes doing so. Lam said many Hongkongers might have tight schedules and might not be able to have face-to-face conversations with their family, but even instant messaging and video calls were helpful. “Even if you have long working hours, you will have a break during which you can send instant messages to your family; or when you are stuck in a jam, you can have a video call with them,” he said.

(Hongkongers Not So Sad, May 11, 2017, South China Morning Post)

The verb “came” (v 19, para-ginomai) does not mean just “come,” but “come near,” with the prefix “para,” from where we get the word parallel. Jesus’ family members in their visit to Jesus had the idea and intention to be nearby, beside or alongside Him. The last mention of Jesus’ mother, Mary, up to this point in Luke was all the way back to Luke 2 on their trip to Jerusalem. After the introduction to John the Baptist in chapter 3, Jesus was in the wilderness was in chapter 4 (4:1) and Galilee (4:114) before retuning to Nazareth, his hometown (Luke 4:16). In his hometown of Nazareth the listeners in the synagogue diminished him as “Joseph's son” (Luke 4:22), to which Jesus replied, “No prophet is in his own country.” (Luke 4:24) The locals were so angry at Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah of the nations that they attempted to throw Him from a hill (4;29). Since then Jesus’ headquarter was in Capernaum (Luke 4:31, 7:1, Matt 4:13). The distance From Capernaum to Nazareth is 40 miles. If an average person walks 3.1 miles per hour, according to Wikipedia, then the trail was close to 13 hours of walking. I can only walk two miles an hour with my bad knees, just as it would take longer for Mary, a lady, to get reach her destination, with rest in between and at night.

The second “get near/come” (v 19, sun-tugchano) is different from the first “come.” It is more than just physical, but personal. The preposition “sun” means with, joint or together, plus the verb “tugchano” (“come at”) is elsewhere translated as obtain (Luke 20:35), enjoy (Acts 24:2) and refresh (Acts 27:3). The verb “suntugchano” with the preposition “sun” or “together” means to devote or spend or cherish quality time together.

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